Hayley Profile

Dr Hayley Stevenson

Reader in Politics and International Relations

Contact Details
Email: h.stevenson@sheffield.ac.uk


Hayley Stevenson joined the Politics Department in 2012 as Lecturer in International Relations. She was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2014, and to Reader in 2016.

Dr Stevenson graduated from Flinders University of South Australia with First Class Honours in International Relations and Spanish (2001-2004). She was awarded her PhD from the University of Adelaide, Australia, in 2009. Her doctoral research was an analysis of the diffusion of international climate governance norms, and included case studies on Australia, India, and Spain. This research was published as a book titled Institutionalizing Unsustainability: The Paradox of Global Climate Governance (University of California Press, 2013).

In 2009-2011, Dr Stevenson was a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian National University. There she worked with Professor John S. Dryzek on a project on democracy and climate change. This project drew on cutting edge democratic theory to evaluate the existing global governance of climate change, and to prescribe possible reforms to enhance its legitimacy and effectiveness. This research was published in a book titled Democratizing Global Climate Governance (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Between 2013 and 2016, Dr Stevenson was an ESRC Future Research Leader (with a grant value of £247,000). She carried out a study of innovations in international environmental policy, focusing on the World Bank. This project analysed processes of institutional learning in the design of new environmental policies, and address challenges to including civil society and heterogeneous perspectives in policy design.

Between 2016 and 2019, she is leading a project with Professor James Meadowcroft called Ecosystem Services: Valuing Nature for Sustainable Development and a Green Economy. This includes a team of researchers in Australia, Canada, and the UK. We aim to understand how the idea of valuing nature has developed, been taken up into policy, and the implications of this for sustainability and justice. This project is funded by a grant of €800,000 from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, The Wellcome Trust and VolkswagenStiftung.

In mid-2017 Dr Stevenson will publish two new books: a single authored textbook called Global Environmental Politics: Problems, Policy, and Practice (Cambridge University Press), and an edited volume (with Olaf Corry) called Trends and Traditions in Global Environmental Politics: International Relations and the Earth (Routledge).

Professional Recognition

2016 Senate Award for Collaborative Activities (Senate Awards for Excellence in Learning & Teaching)
2015 Faculty Learning and Teaching Award
2014 Faculty Prize for Early Career Achievement in Research
2009 University Doctoral Research Medal, University of Adelaide


Dr Stevenson is working on three externally funded research projects.

1. Innovations in International Environmental Policy (2013 – 2016)

In 2013, Dr Stevenson was awarded an ESRC Future Research Leaders fellowship to carry out a three-year study of innovations in international environmental policy. This project analyses processes of institutional learning in the design of new environmental policies in international organisations, and addresses challenges to including civil society and heterogeneous perspectives in policy design.

Despite more than two decades of sustainable development policy, most indicators of environmental quality continue to decline. The purpose of this project is to understand how international sustainability policies are changing in response to these conditions. With the aim of reconciling economic development and environmental sustainability, some policy actors have adopted new concepts and strategies such as ‘green growth’ and ‘green economy’. But there are other competing and overlapping understandings of the environment-economy nexus captured in such terms as inclusive wealth, de-growth, steady-state economy, and buen vivir. This project will assess innovations in international environmental policy in terms of (a) how they are informed by these multiple understandings, and (b) the degree to which these innovations have brought policy into line with the conditions necessary to prevent further environmental degradation. International organisations (IOs) frequently take a leadership role in advancing new sustainability concepts and strategies; therefore, these organisations are the focus of this study.

2. Ecosystem Services: Valuing Nature in the Green Economy (2016-2019)

This three year project is funded by the Swedish Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (€800,000). Dr Stevenson and Prof. James Meadowcroft (Carleteon University, Canada) are leading a team of researchers in the UK, Canada, and Australia to analyse whether the concept of “ecosystem services” can enable transitions to more inclusive and sustainable economies.

The idea of valuing nature in monetary terms has become a core element of international ‘green economy’ agendas. This has been enabled by the widespread acceptance of the ‘ecosystem services’ concept. As this concept becomes increasingly embedded in development planning and economic policy-making, it is imperative to understand the opportunities it creates for conservation and development, and its inherent tensions and limitations. The potential for the ‘ecosystem services’ concept to enable transitions to more inclusive and sustainable economies will be assessed through original research on international institutions and four country-level case studies. The project will also yield theoretical insights into the relationship between conceptual innovation and institutional change. This project will advance understanding of how new concepts like ecosystem services can lead to lead to new ways of acting and responding to global problems.

3. Global Food Justice

Garrett Brown, Alasdair Cochrane, and Hayley Stevenson are also collaborating on the design of a new research project on 'Global Food Justice'. This forms part of the University of Sheffield’s Cross-Faculty Food Security research plan. A project description is available here (PDF, 0.1 MB).

4. Recent Invited Papers and Keynote Lectures

  • International Seminar on ‘Climate Change: Impact on Developing Countries’, Shillong, Meghalaya, India, 15-17 October. Invited keynote speaker.
  • ClimaConf Conference: ‘Confidence, credibility and authority in climate sciences and politics’, Paris, November 2014. Invited talk on ‘Debating the Science and Politics of Climate Change’.
  • ECPR Summer School on Environmental Politics and Policy, June 2013. Invited paper on democratizing global climate governance.
  • Lund Conference on Earth System Governance: Towards Just and Legitimate Earth System Governance – Addressing Inequalities, April 2012, Lund, Sweden. Invited semi-plenary speaker: ‘Citizen-centred accountability in global climate governance’.

View full list of publications

Key Publications


  • Hayley Stevenson and John S. Dryzek (2014). Democratizing Global Climate Governance. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.
  • Hayley Stevenson. 2013. Institutionalizing Unsustainability: The Paradox of Global Climate Governance. Berkeley: University of California Press. Available as a digital download here.

Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • Hayley Stevenson (2016) 'Deliberative Policy Analysis'. In Philipp Pattberg and Fariborz Zelli (eds) Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Governance and Politics. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • Hayley Stevenson (2016) 'Deliberative Democracy'. In Karin Bäckstrand and Eva Lövbrand (eds) Research Handbook on Climate Governance. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • John S. Dryzek and Hayley Stevenson. 2013. ‘Democratising the Global Climate Regime. In Chris Methmann, Delf Rothe, and Benjamin Stephan (eds.), (De)Constructing the Greenhouse: Interpretive approaches to global climate governance. London: Routledge, pp.232-247.
  • Hayley Stevenson (2013) ‘Alternative theories of global environmental politics: constructivism, Marxism and critical approaches’. In Paul G. Harris (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Global Environmental Politics, London: Routledge, pages 42-55.


Work in Progress


  • Hayley Stevenson (forthcoming 2017) Global Environmental Politics: Problems, Policy, and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Olaf Corry and Hayley Stevenson (eds) (forthcoming 2017) Trends and Traditions in Global Environmental Politics: International Relations and the Earth. Routledge.

Research papers

  • 'Reconceptualising Legitimacy in Global Governance: From the right to speak to the right to be heard'
  • 'Voice and Silence in International Bureaucracies: the case of the World Bank'
  • 'The changing contours of World Bank leadership in global environmental governance'
PhD Supervision

Dr Stevenson is currently supervising the following PhD projects:

  • Resource Nationalism in Mexico, Perla Polanco Leal
  • Representing Animals in the Deliberative System: the case of hunting, Lucy Parry
  • Indicators and the Global Governance of Land and Food Security, Stefano Golinelli
  • Beyond Sustainable Development - The Environment in EU Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding, Teresa Lappe-Osthege
  • Energy cultures of Arctic states; climate change and the geopolitics of fossil fuel economies in Norway, Russia, and Denmark, Fionn O'Shaughnessy
  • The Role of Energy in Azerbaijan’s Foreign Policy, Gunay Bayramova

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